The online gambling industry is buzzing! Never before have there been so many betting sites to choose from which has created an unprecedented amount of competition for your business. This competition has led to bookmakers coming up with new and exciting features and offering increasingly generous promotions to try and tempt you to to join them over one of their rivals.
If you are new to betting online then we can see how these things might a be a little overwhelming and whilst you want to make to sure you pick the right bookmaker, you may not know where to start. This guide is going to show exactly what you need to look out for and then enable to you to save both time and money in choosing the right site.
For those of you who are just looking for a recommendation of a good site, we’ll kick things off with a list of the best online betting sites. These are great all rounders that combined decent odds with coverage of all major sports and events, as well as lots of offers.
Best Betting Sites in the UK For 2023
In our opinion you can’t go far wrong with bet365. They were one of the first betting sites we signed up with many years ago and one that we still bet with on a regular basis today – a fact that speaks volumes in a fast moving industry such as this one.
As one of the most comprehensive sites we’ve tested, what’s on offer should tick the boxes of the majority of punters. So if you’re only planning on signing up with one bookie, we suggest you start by looking at bet365.
2. Coral & Ladbrokes
Coral now part of a major international group called GVC who own a variety of UK high street names, including Coral and Ladbrokes, both of which are excellent choices. Being part of the same group there are a lot of similarities between the two, but they’re not identical.
For example, Ladbrokes offer a betting exchange built into their site that runs on the Betdaq platform. – making it one of the few places where you can place both fixed odds and peer to peer bets. Coral, on the other hand, tend to have more offers and promotions.
BetVictor have the most user friendly site of all the bookies we’ve tested. Not only it is intuitively laid out it’s also incredibly fast making it very easy to navigate around. This may seem like an odd thing to focus on but if you’re after somewhere to quickly jump on and place a bet, BetVictor would be our go to.
On top of this BetVictor have very competitive average odds. So whilst they may not be the absolute top price every time, on average they work out to to be one of the best. Again great for those of you those just want a go-to site to place a quick bet.
One of the earliest gambling sites, 888 are a huge worldwide name. This global outlook brings with it a different way of doing things to most of the UK high street brands who all tend to be relatively similar in a lot of respects.
This also means you’re going to find a lot more international markets, covering matches, sports and bets that many other sites ignore. Definitely one to check out if you like your non-UK sport.
Their search feature is very handy for quickly finding bets as well.
Other Good Options
Any of the above should suit the needs of most punters, although it is worth signing up for accounts with a couple of them rather than just one as they’ll run different offers. If you want more recommendations then check out the best free bets list on our home page.
Alternatively here’s a very quick run down of who you may want to check out:
- 10bet – Online only site with lots of unique features and markets.
- Betfred – Familiar face from the UK high street.
- Sport Nation – Relatively new betting site but with some serious people behind it. Expect good things.
- Unibet – Scandinavian brand making it’s foray into the British market. Part of the Kindred group who also own 32red.
What Makes a Good Betting Site?
A good bookmaker will be made up of lots of components. We aren’t looking for one trick ponies here, instead we want something that’s going to be rounded and in-depth into all section of online betting.
This isn’t going to be a one size fits all scenario, instead you will need to work out what’s more important for you and then act on that. The good thing about the industry at the minute is that it’s super competitive, which means that bookmakers are constantly evolving and improving just to stay ahead of the game. If they fail to do this, they will die out and as a punter, it’s really easy to simply jump ship to a new bookmaker that might be a little more innovative.
There’s a number of area that you can look at in terms of what makes a good betting site, but here is our list.
The first place we start are the odds on offer. Pricing is important because at the end of the day, we are here to try and win more than we lose and we can maximise these chances by taking the best price possible.
What you might not realise is that the price on certain bets or markets can change massively between each bookmaker. There is no on fixed price that all bookies choose, contrary to a lot of belief and with it can mean a lot of money is left on the table.
Above we’ve got a look at the upcoming Champions League final between Liverpool and Tottenham. Liverpool are favourites for the win and as you can see, prices range from as low as 1.90 up to 2.05. This means that if you bet £10 at odds of 1.90 then you get £19 back and is you placed the same bet at 20.5, then you get £20.50 back. That’s is an increase of £1.50 for every £10 staked.
If you wagered £100 on this then this would be £15 between the best and worst price. That gives us an almost 8% increase on price. Seems, pretty obvious which you would choose!
But, a single bookmaker isn’t going to have the best price for every single bet. This is why we encourage picking up a “stable” of bookmakers that you can jump into as and when.
By stable we just mean multiple bookmaker accounts with different firms. This could be from 3-5, but it means that if you’ve an account with 3-5 bookies, then it’s likely that one is going to be near enough best price, which means you get maximum value from your bet.
Whilst picking the best price is important for all bets, if you regularly place accumulator bets then it becomes even more important.
The image above shows a simple (random) 4-fold from an accumulator bet. The firs column highlights then industry’s best price and then the next two highlight the two lowest prices from the bookmakers that were tested.
As you can see, the price difference is huge! But, if you look a little closer, the odds for each single bet are only slightly different, but these small changes start to have a big effect with these types of bets. From the lowest to the highest is a massive 30% increase in price, which you need to be making sure you aren’t leaving yourself open to. Also, we won’t mention names, but the lower two bookies are two of the biggest in the world, so it’s not always a case of just going on reputation or brand.
We’ve briefly spoken about picking bookmakers that suit the sports or markets that you want to bet, but we wanted to highlight that again here. Market coverage can hugely vary between bookmakers and each will have certain sports or markets that they target more than others.
You’ll find that most UK-focused bookmakers will cover football and horse racing as their main two sports, but the coverage can vary. You can find that the number of markets on a single football match can vary from anywhere between 100-500 markets.
Sticking with the Champions League final here but see how three huge bookmakers are offering a very different market coverage for the game. Given this is probably going to be one of the most bet on sports fixtures of the season for each bookmaker, the range of markets vary massively.
You aren’t necessarily looking for the bookmaker that has the most here all the time, although likely a good place to start, but you need to make sure they offer the markets that you want to bet on. For example, if you want to bet on the Asian Handicap but the only bookmaker out of the three to offer it is the one with 80 markets (lowest), then it would make sense for you to choose that bookmaker.
As a new customer to a bookmaker you’re going to be able to take advantage of any welcome offers that they might provide. These can range from bonuses to free bets and each can be more lucrative than the other.
It’s likely that you’re going to be able to claim between £10 and £100, although some might go higher than that. What’s good about these offers is that they are relatively easy to claim, especially compared to casino bonuses, if you’re more familiar with them.
A typical example might bet a “bet £10, get £10” offer. For this, you’ll have to open a new account, deposit £10 or more, place your first bet of £10 and then the bookmaker will give you a free £10 bet to use as you wish. You then place the free £10 bet and you get to keep any winnings from that.
There can be more to it than that and some will come with stricter wager requirements. Some bookies may ask you to place a certain number of bets or even a certain amount (monetary) in bets before you’re able to withdraw. You might have to place qualifying bets at certain minimum odds and the offer might only be available with some deposit options.
We’ve written an extensive article on how these promotions work, so it’s worth checking that out before signing up and claiming an offer.
Usability is a huge thing to bear in mind these days, especially as we are starting to move over into mobile betting and away from online betting. The fact of the matter is that, you need the bookmaker to be able to look and function as easy as possible.
This might be things like font size, text, navigation, search bar options, graphics, colours, themes and loads more. The fact is that it takes each of them to pull together and make a site that is more usable than the next.
Also, another point we’ve mentioned in other sections, but don’t just assume that because they are a well-known bookmaker that the bookmaker has good usability. In fact, one of the worst we have come across, without naming names, is one of the oldest and most well-known bookmakers in the industry right now.
What we will add in this section is that you often start to get used to how things work pretty quickly. So, you’re hitting up a new bookmaker after years of using another bookmaker, it will take a little time to get used how it works, but once you have, they generally work pretty well.
The explosion of the online betting scene has meant that bookmaker are no longer simply places where you turn up, place a bet and then be on your way. They are now interactive platforms that want to make it so the user can stay for a long period of time and utilise some of their features.
One of the most successful features in recent times is that of Request-a-Bet type bets. These are basically where you can contact the bookmaker (often via Twitter) and ask them to create a bet for you. So, this might be number of corners, yellow cards, goals, correct score, results, BTTS and loads more to create a unique bet for that match.
Bookmakers will have different names for this, with William Hill using #YourOdds and BetVictor using #PriceItUp.
Above is an example of William Hill’s #YourOdd and the type of bets and prices that often get created as a result. You can even see the Twitter handle associated with the bet, so you know who’s is who.
Another features that’s been a welcomed addition is that of the search functionality that comes with most bookies these days. This allows you to just search for the team or market that you want to bet on, saving you having to trawl through a load of menus. This works well given the fact that there are so many menus, markets and leagues to work through, meaning that it can often be hard to find your bet with some bookies. If you are placing an accumulator of any sort and you know what picks you want to include, this feature saves a load of time.
Live streaming is another notable feature that’s included with a good number of bookies these days. What works so well with this is that many bookies link to their in-play betting section, which means you can watch the games whilst keeping an eye on the odds for that match as well.
Horse racing is probably the most popular sport for this and whilst it’s free, you will need to place a bet of £1 or more to get access to that race. For other sports though, all you need is either a funded account or to have placed a bet within the last 24 hours to get access.
How Safe are Your Funds?
To bet with a bookmaker we need to make a deposit and store funds with that bookmaker. It’s worth noting that your funds are as safe as they’ve ever been within the betting industry and the bookmakers have to go through rigorous checks with the UK Gambling Commission to make sure that players funds are safe.
Most bookmaker will keep your funds in a separate account to their main account, which is what is known in the industry as ring-fencing. The idea is that should the worst happen, and the bookmaker closes their doors, your money will be safe as it’s not attached to the business.
But this is not the law and bookmakers only have to adhere to one of the three protection levels as mentioned below:
- Basic – No extra protection and funds classed as part of business
- Medium – Insurance in place for funds should the company close
- High – Held in totally separate account that is separate from the company. If the business closed, then this would be considered as part of any liquidating assets.
You’re going to be able to find out this information from each bookmaker as to what level of protection they include. Don’t just assume that the bigger the bookie the higher the level of protection, because this is not the case. In fact, some of the biggest names only have a basic level of protection, so if you’re keeping large sums on money online, maybe think about who you are betting with.
It’s always good practice to do your own due diligence to how safe you think your funds are. There are a few sings that things might be going wrong for a bookmaker, such as withdrawal delays, unrealistic bonus offers and lack of communication. These should be warning signs to get your money out as soon as possible.
Established Bookmakers v New Betting Sites
The industry is growing at an alarming rate. It’s packed with new bookmakers and companies that are trying to get a piece of this now, multi-billion-pound industry.
The good thing about this is that it keeps established brands on their toes. It’s like any part of business, when companies get too comfortable and stop trying to improve, then they eventually get left behind. The same thing happens with betting sites. If established brands fail to keep up, there’s always someone sat waiting in the wings to take over from them.
What you will find right now is that a lot of the big brands are fairly similar in terms of what they offer. You could round up the 5 biggest bookmakers and then create a table of things that they offered punters. You will find that few are offering anything totally unique and whilst they might not be offering exactly the same thing, once you’ve tried one, you’ve a good idea of what to expect from the rest of them.
Newer bookmakers offer a little more unpredictability in terms of what they offer. They generally aren’t as big or as well rounded as the most established bookmakers, so this might be seen as a negative. What they do well is really dive into smaller niche sports to try and create some sort of edge over their bigger rivals.
Generally you won’t find that this is with sports such as football and horse racing, as these are bread and butter sports to the big bookies, but definitely with smaller markets, such as eSports, which is very in fashion right now.
What About Pricing?
Whilst features, bonuses and fancy graphics are all well and good, after the novelty of trying something new and shiny has worn off, the main thing then comes down to the price that you get, day in, day out.
We’ve spoken about how small changes can fluctuate, well this is definitely something that you are going to see with new and established bookmakers. You’re going to see that the established bookies are a lot more consistent with their pricing overall. They will rarely be terrible, but they don’t always offer the best price either.
Given the size of the bookmakers, it means that they are able to operate on smaller margins than a smaller book maker that takes less money per market. This means that the smaller bookies are often more erratic with their pricing as a result.
But, that’s not a bad thing! In fact, this is one of the reasons why we would suggest that you take a chance with some of the smaller names. When talk about erratic pricing we mean that they have the capability of offer terrible odds and also amazing odds.
For example, let’s say that 5 established bookmakers were offering 2.00 (even money) on Liverpool to win the Champions League. You might have a small bookmaker that is offer 2.30 on the same event, which is a huge increase. But you could look the next week on Chelsea to win the Europa League and they might be priced at 1.80, when the other 5 bookmakers are priced at 2.20.
This is just a bit of a random example, but the process is definitely something that you’re going to find from smaller bookies, which makes them exciting to use.
Are New Bookmakers Safe?
New bookmakers have to work through the same licensing procedures as established bookies, paying the same rates (based on revenue) and adhering to the same rules and regulations. On that basis, you would have to argue that new bookmakers are just as safe as established bookmakers.
The fact is that this isn’t strictly true. You see, these companies don’t have the turnover, the capital or the assets that a lot of established brands have. These are all in place to help them through tough times or to pay out any fines that might come their way, which are becoming more common for breaches in the rules as set out by the Gambling Commission.
A company like William Hill, that’s been open for decades is going to theoretically be safer to use than a brand that has just opened their doors in the last 6 months, at least, in terms of not closing down any time soon.
But, a lot of new bookmakers actually work through what’s known as white labels, which is basically the framework all in place, then the company just brand it. More on that next.
Also, it’s worth noting that a lot of smaller sites arise as spin offs of established companies or work as part of a group. For example, GVC Holdings are one of the biggest gambling operators in the industry, but they don’t have a bookmaker under their brand name. They do own the likes of Ladbrokes Coral, bwin, SportingBet, Betboo and Gambebookers, to name just a few. So, often there are bigger brands behind these smaller brands, which offer a sense of security at least.
What are White Labels?
White labels are commonly used with new start-up bookmakers. How they work is that a company creates a framework that includes things like the design, banking, betting markets, features and lots more, basically everything you would expect from a bookmaker.
The white label company then allows other companies to buy this framework and essentially apply their branding to the site and call it their own. The bookmaker then takes responsibility of marketing the site and getting players through the doors.
What the process offers is an easy route for companies that are looking to get into the gambling industry, but without the huge initial upfront costs. The white label then takes a smaller up-front fee or between £10,000 to £100,000 usually plus a percentage of the revenue taken from the site as well. The only thing the brand needs to bring to the table is the cash to cover the bets taken and then the white label company takes care of pretty much everything else, including licensing and customer support.
So, if you see multiple bookmakers that look very similar in terms of appearance and markets on offer, you can likely assume that they use the same white label company.
This can work in one of two ways in terms of the new v established argument.
- New bookmakers that use white labels are going to be backed and powered by bigger, more established businesses that have had to apply for a license. The companies often run through strict due diligence processes to make sure they are giving a license to the right people. In this case, it means that it offers a higher peace of mind given they aren’t as “new” as they might appear.
- It means that you often aren’t aware who is safeguarding your funds. It’s not always that easy to find out or even work out who the white label company is. Given its they who will be holding your funds more often than not, this could be a negative for new over old.
If you’ve never been on a betting site before or you’ve just never noticed, then you’ll see that the vast majority now include some sort of casino that ties in with the brand. In fact, there are plenty that offer casino, poker and bingo games making them a gambling portal, rather than just a simple betting site.
What’s good about most bookmakers is that the link with casino is very subtle unless you search it out. So, if it’s not your thing, then you don’t need to work too hard to actively avoid it.
However, if it is your thing then you’ll be pleased to know that there is now a plethora of options with some of the bigger betting sites. In fact, many are more than capable of standing alone as a casino brand with other established casino brands in the industry.
Whilst we won’t go into too much detail about it here, the quick explanation as to why they are so good is that casinos use outsourced game developers for their casinos. So, they might partner with half a dozen different companies and get the rights to use their games on their casino. This is how 99% of all online casinos work and the same process is carried over for betting sites as well. It’s also why you will likely see the same games played at different casinos.
You’re going to get a full casino experience with most betting sites and even the smaller ones will offer than more than enough for the casual casino player. Here’s a look at what you can expect:
The main game for any online casino comes in the form slots. You’ll get hundreds of games to choose from, although this number will vary depending on which game developers they have on board.
The quality of the games has come a long way from the mundane fruit machines that you may be more accustomed to in your local boozer. Most games come with a plethora of features including bonus rounds, free spins, wilds, sticky wilds, scatters, different payline games, tumbling reels, sticky wins, big bet and win both ways.
Games will also come with a wide range of stakes that are available. Spins can literally start from as little as 1p and work up into the hundreds of pounds. It’s worth noting that each game will come with a set of rules attached where you can see what the symbols represent and the combinations needed to win.
The jackpot games are what a lot of people head to the casino to play, these are the games that dish out the biggest wins.
The majority of these games are what’s known as progressive jackpots. These are games that take a small percentage of every spin (1-3%) and then cumulate that money into a jackpot fund. Once the winning combination is hit, the game pays out the jackpot.
Progressive jackpot games frequently hit 7 and even 8 figures. They work a little differently than most games as the money is pooled from all games and is hosted by the game developer rather than the casino.
For example, Mega Moolah is made by Microgaming. They have the game run on dozens of different casinos, but the jackpot is added to by players from all these casinos and not just one jackpot per casino. This means a huge number of players are taking part in the jackpot and this is why they raise (the jackpot) faster than ever.
Table games take some of the favourite casino games from brick and mortar building and bring them online. These are another super popular section of any casino and you’re going to get a differing range of games to choose from.
The most popular come in the form of blackjack and roulette. Both these games have multiple variations and the rules differ for each, so make sure you’re familiar with the rules for that game before starting.
Other table games include baccarat, keno, pai gow, craps, three card poker and many, many more.
Live Casino Games
A fairly new addition to online casinos has been that of live casino games. These are where live streams are sent out on the casino of a dealer playing out the game as if you were in an actual casino.
You’re able to play the game in real time and place your bets just as you would a normal casino, but from the comfort of your own home. The fact that you can interact with the dealer and even other players means that it’s a popular inclusion to the casino package.
Peer to Peer Betting Through Exchanges
One of the biggest innovations that has occurred on the back of online betting is that of peer to peer betting. This basically means where you bet with other people and not the bookmaker, essentially like if you were betting with a friend, but instead over a proper platform.
These are called betting exchanged and it means that no longer are you able to just “back” a selection, like you do at traditional bookmakers, but also you can “lay” a bet as if you were the bookmaker taking the bet.
For example, when you back a bet you, take the price set out on the bookmaker or the exchange. Let’s say that Liverpool to win the Champions League is priced at 2.00. You take the price and then you will win if Liverpool win the Champions League. Any other result, i.e. they lose, then you lose your bet.
When you lay a bet, you would be the person offering that price. You give the odds that you want to set for the out and then the maximum stake amounts your willing to accept. This then trigger the liability for the bet, which is the amount that you will need to pay out should you lose.
The good thing about betting with an exchange is that you often get better prices that you would at the bookmaker. This is because these bets tend not to have any vigorish included with them. Vigorish is basically the bookmakers cut so they make a profit on all markets. For example, a bookmaker would offer you odds of 1.90 on a coin toss even though the true odds are 2.00 (even money). The small decrease in true odds is part of their cut and how they work their books.
Because punters on the exchange aren’t generally looking to take these margins given that they aren’t doing this full time, it means that odds can often be inflated. Let’s take continue with an example of the Liverpool v Tottenham Champions League final to highlight this.
The top image show the price from the betting exchange and the bottom is taken from a list of over a dozen bookmakers.
|Liverpool to win||2.05||2.04|
|Tottenham to win||4.2||4.2|
As you can see, the numbers are pretty close, with the exchange having the best price on the draw, the odds being the same on the Tottenham win and then a light win for the bookmaker on the Liverpool to win result. But you need to understand that this is 1 exchange against multiple bookmakers here and the odds are all taken from different bookmaker as well.
Whilst we do advocate that you need more than one betting account to take advantage of the best prices possible, having 10+ on the go is likely not going to be manageable. If you were to ask us what’s better value, one traditional bookmaker or one betting exchange account? We would have to answer the betting exchange as you will be getting much better odds.
What’s the Catch?
There’s no “catch” as such, but there are a couple of points that you need to know.
You may be wondering at this point how a betting exchange makes money if you are betting against or with other punters on the exchange. Well, the answer is that they take a commission of each winning bet. Commission rates will vary but are usually around the 3-5% mark. So, if you won £100, the betting exchange would then that £5 if they were taking a 5% commission.
It’s worth noting that commission is due only on winning amounts. So, if you back or lay a bet and lose, you don’t pay any commission.
The other point that we need to talk about is liquidity. This is the amount of money that can be bet on for each result.
As you can see from the image above, there are monetary value under each price and as will notice, they are different for each bet. This is the amount of money that is left to be wagered on at this price.
So, at the minute if you were wanting to back Tottenham to win at a price of 4.2 then there is £4031 available to wager, so this would be the max bet. Once this has gone, the price will be removed and the odds of 4.1 will come in, which you can see has £2134 available.
These amounts will increase and decrease as selections and backed and laid. If you look in the top right of the image you will see a box called “matched”. This is the total amount of money that has been matched in the market as of yet.
The reason all these numbers are important is that if they have a low liquidity on the market in that not much has been backed or laid, then it’s often hard to get a decent price as a result.
Above is an example of a low-liquidity market from a cricket match in India. As you can see, there has been nothing matches as of yet and the low liquidity means that if you were wanting to bet on SoBo SuperSonics for example, the max amount you can stake at 1.50 is £19 and then the next best price is 1.05, which is a long way off the original price.
Who Offers Betting Exchanges?
Betfair were one of the original betting exchanges and they are still the biggest even to this day. They first opened their doors in 2001 and it could be argued that they almost singlehandedly changed the betting industry forever with the choice of being able to back and lay results.
Given its size, you get a huge range of markets to bet on with Betfair, but what’s best is that they have the liquidity to use it on a daily basis. We’ve shown you a unique example above of a low liquidity market, but you have to bear in mind that most bookies don’t even offer any market on this at all and it took us a good while to track down something so low.
The site also offers a traditional bookmaker as well. So, you are able to use one wallet to move between the exchange and their traditional sportsbook, which is a really nice feature.
The bookmaker’s main competition comes in the form of Ladbrokes. However, Ladbrokes weren’t originally a betting exchange, they’ve a long history in sports betting and were a traditional bookmaker for many years. They made a Segway for exchange betting when they purchased Betdaq, who were originally a betting exchange.
The partnership has now brought together one of the biggest bookmakers and one of the biggest betting exchanges to form one powerhouse. The downside is that the exchange isn’t nearly as popular as Betfair, which means for more niche markets, the liquidity isn’t there and it can be hard to find matches for bets.
Alternative exchanges include Matchbook and Smarkets. Again, liquidity is an issued overall with both of these as they are smaller, but they do offer reduced commission rates compared to both Betfair and Ladbrokes, so definitely worth having a look to see if the sport or market that you frequent has liquidity or not.
Biggest Names in the UK Betting Industry
One thing that you need to be aware of in the betting industry is that even though brands remain the same, they have often changed hands as to who own these companies. There have been several multi-million and even multi-billion buyouts over the years, so it’s not always massively in the public eye as to who owns who.
GVC Holdings – Ladbrokes, Coral, Bwin + more
GVC Holdings are probably the biggest of the lot and in tehri stable they include Ladbrokes Coral, Bwin, SportingBet, Party Poker, Foxy Bingo and a host of other bookmakers, casinos, poker rooms and online bingo rooms.
The company were founded in 2004 in Luxembourg and originally joined forces with William Hill before acquiring SportingBet in 2012. The deal to secure Bwin in 2016 was pivotal for the company and finally secured a deal of £1.1billion.
The deal with Ladbrokes Coral was their biggest to date and that was a reported £4billion, coming in 2017 just a year or so after both Ladbrokes and Coral underwent a merger. The company now have 13 brands under their wing and reported a record revenue of £2.9billlion in 2018.
Betfred are one of the oldest bookmakers in the industry and have been running since 1967. They were set up by bothers Fred and Peter Done, and Fred is still Chairman and CEO to this day.
The company have been run as a single brand for a number of years, seeing large success both online and on the high street. Whilst the bulk of their success came in the mid 2000’s, they are still regarded as one of the biggest online bookmakers even to this day.
In 2011, Betfred made their first major acquisition coming in the form of the Tote. The deal was said to be worth £265million, which they secured after a lengthy bidding process that took place over many months, before finally sealing the deal.
As part of their deal they had to make sure that adequate money from their bid would be going back to the tax payer, as The Tote was government run at the time and that they were to invest into horse racing, a sport that the Tote worked very closely with.
Paddy Power Betfair
Paddy Power are definitely one of the most iconic brands of the betting industry. They have been about since 1988 and worked on the back of a merger between three Irish based bookmakers at the time to try and match that of the challenge set out by rival bookies, such as William Hill and Ladbrokes.
The company have always been one of the best when it comes to marketing and even though some campaigns have been more than borderline in terms of being PC, they certainly know how to get people talking.
Paddy Power’s first taste of acquisition came about in 2010 when they were able to secure a majorly stake in Australian bookmaker, Sportsbet.com.au. But, the biggest bit of business occurred in 2015, when a merger with betting exchange giants, Betfair, was agreed.
The deal would see the brand name become Paddy Power Betfair, but each brand would continue to run as they were in terms of separate bookmakers. The deal saw the valuation of the company rise to £1.8billion and become one of the biggest in the world.
William Hill are the oldest in the pack and with it they been open since 1934. The switch to online was a slow one given their success on the high street, but they are to this day still considered a betting powerhouse.
The company has actually changed hands many times throughout the years, including by that of Sears Holdings in 1971, Grand Metropolitan in 1988, Brent Walker in 1989 and Nomura in 1997 and Cinven and CVC Capital Partners in 1999, to name just a few.
The company are now listed on the London Stock Exchange and themselves have been able to add to their stable. The first major one came about in 2005 when they paid £504million for 624 betting shops from Stanley Leisure, massively boosting their presence on the high street. Later the office of fair trading made them sell 78 of these shops due to concerns over anti-competitive practices.
One of their most recent acquisitions was that of PlayTech, who they invested in £144million in for parts of their business, including affiliate companies and assets. PlayTech are widely regarded as one of the biggest and best casino game developers in the industry.